Chapter 23: An Unexpected Financial Loss From Probing
The ceremony was scheduled to start at midday. The women weren’t actually going to be at the ceremony, because that would be where all the men would be. The womenfolk were going to sit in the meditation room chanting Buddhist scriptures. It was there that the old madame met Lin Qianzi, the female lead. She was a true beauty when she was properly dressed in female clothing. However, Bai Xiangxiu trailed a finger down her cheek and privately thought that she’d overtake the female lead by a large margin when it came to looks.
The old madame seemed to be rather satisfied with Lin Qianzi, so the two sides struck up a conversation. The book had not described this part in many details, instead starting from when Lin Qianzi tried to escape her marriage. As for Bai Xiangxiu, although she was an unexpected guest, she was still a background character. Her position was even below that of the older female cousin Yu Xiaoshu. She had been squeezed to the side until she almost had no space to stand. Although she was a beauty, she tried her best not to attract the attention, and succeeded in not attracting any jealous gazes.
It was Yu Xiaoshu who thoroughly looked down on the female lead, Lin Qianzi. Her eyes stared at Lin Qianzi as if she wanted to bite her to pieces, while Lin Qianzi tossed seemingly unwitting glances at Bai Xiangxiu.
What’s with her hurt expression though? I haven’t done anything to her!
Could it be beautiful supporting female leads turned into cannon fodder because the female lead was jealous of their looks? The more Bai Xiangxiu thought about it, the more she considered it to be possible. She ducked her head and hid that troublesome face of hers. Actually, Madame Lin wasn’t too happy about the way the prince’s household had handled things. They had actually brought a little concubine to such a grand occasion. However, upon seeing how she well she was behaving, keeping to the back of the group without saying anything, she seemed like a soft one who wouldn’t bully her daughter.
She patted her daughter’s hand, indicating that she didn’t need to worry. She then cast a look at one of the servant girls with her. The girl caught the look, and quietly walked out of the crowd.
Lin Qianzi knew full well what her mother was up to. She couldn’t help but frown and say quietly, “Mother, don’t make trouble for her, she’s a good person.” She had even helped her in the prince’s complex previously, and had not revealed her identity.
“Don’t worry, I’m simply testing her.” Madame Lin smiled gently. She was actually worrying for her daughter. Her daughter was too kind and would definitely attract trouble for herself sooner or later. She had to eliminate all her enemies for her daughter before she married into the household.
Although Bai Xiangxiu had not heard their conversation, she seemed to understand what was going to happen, because the female lead’s gaze kept drifting towards her with some pity. Madame Lin’s eyes were full of viciousness, and a sneer hung clearly at the corner of her mouth.
That Madame Lin was probably panicking inside after seeing how she, as a little concubine, had been brought here. Bai Xiangxiu was destined to be unlucky this time.
Should she fight back?
Maybe not. If she fought back on a grand occasion like this, she might draw the ire of that mother and son duo who liked killing people with staves. Besides, the supporting male lead liked little white flowers with a holy mother complex. Back then, the female lead had attracted his pity after being bullied by the old madame and the concubines in the prince’s household. That pity had been the seed that had sprouted into deep love.
Perhaps, she should simply take it?
Suddenly, she felt a touch on the back of her waist. She rolled her eyes towards the sky before turning around. Actually, she had already predicted that there would be something behind her for her to crash into when she turned. It looked like they had brought out the figure of Buddha this time. Well, no matter what it was, since they’d gone to the trouble of bringing it out, she was going to make them go bankrupt.
Thus, the gentle push abruptly became a forceful one. The tray in the girl’s hands was completely overturned, sending its contents crashing to the ground. This time, it wasn’t just her, but everyone present who froze in startlement.
Two Buddha figures and glass prayer beads fell to the ground, shattering into tiny pieces. The jade Buddha figure that the girl had prepared but hadn’t had the time to throw was still clutched in her hands. However, everyone could see that the one in her hands was the least valuable one. The ones on the ground were worth well over a thousand silver ingots!
Seeing how everyone hadn’t been able to react in time, Bai Xiangxiu hurriedly knelt on the ground and looked towards the old madame frantically as she said. “Old Madame, this concubine didn’t do it on purpose; it really wasn’t on purpose. I felt someone push me from behind, so I turned around. I didn’t think… I didn’t think… Wuwuwu…” It should be fine if she cried and admitted her crime first, right? See, she was so frightened that her whole body was trembling, how pitiable.
The old madame frowned. Her heart cooled when she saw the pieces on the ground, and that Madame Lin’s servant girl stood frozen. With so much space to the side, she had still chosen to walk behind née Bai and had even bumped into her. This had clearly been done on purpose.
She was merely a concubine, was there any need to be this narrow-minded? Was her son not allowed to have other women by his side if Madame Lin’s daughter married into her family?
“How could you be so careless?” The old madame’s tone was fierce, but lacked the rebuking tone she normally would have.
Madame Lin’s heart ached. This useless maid Hua’er, she would definitely sell her once they went home! She couldn’t even do a single thing right.
Hua’er could also see that there was something wrong with her master’s gaze, so she hurriedly knelt and said, “Madame, I, I… I didn’t do it on purpose, I… I didn’t think that she would suddenly turn around.”
“Speak properly!” Madame Lin shouted sharply. Upon hearing that, Hua’er calmed down, “It’s all her fault! If she hadn’t suddenly turned around, this servant wouldn’t have dropped and broken these valuable treasures. Madame, please help me!”
“It wasn’t me, it was an accident.” Bai Xiangxiu secretly pinched her leg, and the tears automatically came pouring out. The weeping beauty attracted everyone’s pity.
Especially the female lead. Her heart pricking with sympathy, she said, “Mother, they didn’t do it on purpose, why don’t we forget about this!”
Madame Lin glared at her own daughter. How could she have given birth to such a wastrel! She had already invested a few thousand silver ingots to plumb the depths of this concubine, so she’d see things through to the end! Thus, she frowned and commanded, “Men, drag Hua’er away. I’ll deal with her when we return. As for this one from the prince’s household… What do you have to say for yourself?” She glanced at Bai Xiangxiu, but all she did was cry and look towards the old madame for mercy. It looked like she was extremely frightened.
Madame Lin gave a disdainful smile. She hadn’t thought that she would be such a soft, useless thing. If she had known earlier, she wouldn’t have bothered testing her. She had been thinking of using a cheap jade Buddha for this test, but who would have known… The more she looked at those items, the more her heart ached. She couldn’t help but grit her teeth. She had to make that concubine pay for it today.
The old madame didn’t speak, but simply showed a look of pity on her face. Although Yu Xiaoshu didn’t like Bai Xiangxiu for her looks, her disdain for the legal wife-to-be, Lin Qianzi, was even higher. Deciding to add oil to the fire, she smiled and said, “Who knows if she bumped into Madame Bai on purpose?” She had cut straight to the point, and everyone’s eyes turned to Lin Qianzi. This person hadn’t even married into the household, but she was already threatening the concubines. Wasn’t this a little early?
However, the old madame then said, “Shut up. Madame Lin, it was Madame Bai’s clumsiness that brought us to this point. This older sister apologizes to you on her behalf. The Prince Li household will compensate you for these things.”
What, wouldn’t the prince’s household go bankrupt then?
That wasn’t a good deal at all. Bai Xiangxiu had clearly wanted to make the Lin family bankrupt. Thus, she immediately spoke up, “This concubine didn’t do it on purpose. Madame Lin, it’s fine if you just punish me. Otherwise, this concubine can give all her assets to the Lin family as compensation.”